Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Back to work...tomorrow

The Big Melt is on. I've been to B&Q and bought myself a half-price pendulum jigsaw (with an extra ten per cent off because it's 'Over-60s card day'. There's no excuse. It's time to get back to work.


Sunday, 26 December 2010

Our other Christmas guest

You can't help but feel sorry for the birds in this weather - even the pestering ducks - but our favourite is 'Scruffy' the dishevelled pied wagtail who visits the galley hatch every day. We started off feeding him oats but now he has his own finely chopped cheese. And on Christmas Day a little touch of brie and camembert went down rather well!

Christmas Day with the Stars

There are some traditions in a Blick family Christmas Day that never change - even on a boat.
Like the family photo round the table with the ten second delay timer...
Or the monstrous portions - even on a tiny table...

Or the family walk - not always in the snow.Or the chance to inspect another boyfriend

Monday, 20 December 2010

The white stuff

It's white outside and now it's white inside too. Snow has turned the outside world cold and white. Sprayfoam insulation has turned the inside of Harry white too. And hopefully warm.
It's not a nice job is sprayfoaming. Anything that involves wearing breathing apparatus and spraying noxious chemicals around is well worth avoiding as far as I'm concerned. Especially when the foam sticks like sh*t to a blanket to whatever it touches.
It's clever stuff though. Sticks to every surface and fills every gap. The big snag is that it's almost impossible to apply evenly (though our man Andy did his best). The result is that some spots are too thick and have to be laboriously cut back while others are too thin and will need later attention with the sprayfoam can. Fortunately that's Vicky's favourite toy.
But now the sprayfoam is done we can move ahead with laying the floor. The battens you can see in the photo are now screwed down on the steel bearers and the ply floor starts to go in tomorrow.
All we need to do then is put in the armchairs and the tele.
Well, almost all we need to do...

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Mad granny runs amok with knitting needles

You've heard about these eccentric old dears who wheel their pet pooch around in a pram and then leave all their money to it in their will. Well here's Brian modelling the latest in 'mad granny knitwear for dogs' - a woolen bonnet* to go with his coat of many colours and help him cope with -16C temperatures outside. Not that he goes outside if he can possibly avoid it.
*Actually it's a woolly hat for grand-daughter Martha - I don't know if that makes it better or worse. Grand-daughter gets hat previously enjoyed by pet dog!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Window opens - and then closes

After a fortnight of looking like an ice rink the canal returned to water yesterday so Streethay asked me to bring a boat back from Fradley. (The big freeze has disrupted work schedules there badly with boats unable to reach the yard.)
Vicky dropped me there and I - optimistically - waved her off to go Christmas shopping. Big mistake. I walked up to the moorings to the boat and discovered that the ice, barely present at the start, was still two inches thick!
After an hour of ice breaking with the boat and smashing the ice with a three-inch fence post I'd moved precisely two boat lengths. Then the blizzard started and I gave up!
I headed off on the three miles home down the towpath. Ironically after half a mile the ice on the canal had disappeared. If we could have made the first few hundred yards in the boat I'd have got it back.
Looked out this morning to see the snow falling and the canal rapidly re-freezing. I think the window of opportunity for getting boats back to Streethay is closing fast.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Cold? Us?

Starwoman and Stardog model their winter fashions.

Streethay in the snow

It's been pretty cold here at Streethay this past week with the canal frozen solid and the trees white with frost.
The ducks seem to be thriving, though, milking the boaters' sympathy vote for all its worth as they waddle up and down the ice getting fed at every window!
There are only so many snow scenes you can photograph though. I think we've seen enough now. Time for a thaw so we can get the sprayfoamer in on Harry.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Not quite the end after all

Hah! A bit of over optimism in the last post. "Just the tricky odds and ends to finish up" I said. I should have noticed that I'd typed the word "tricky". Took all morning to batten around the front and side hatches. And then I discovered the engine room bulkhead had a twist in it which had to be straightened out. Meaning hours of careful wedging of the battens to straighten it all up.
And we're still not quite done. But another day will definitely see it finished.

I hope.

Lock, stock and batten

Pretty much all battened out now - I just have all the tricky odds and ends to finish off today. A quick bit of adding up and I reckon I've used about 125 metres of batten. Which is a lot of wood considering I'm only battening out 10 metres of boat. Where the hell has it all gone?
It's been a slow job. Tricky too at times, especially hanging battens from sky hooks under the deck and trying to level up the roof battens so that looking at a wavy ceiling won't make me feel seasick.
And doing it all in sub zero temperatures. Electric screwdrivers and gloves don't mix well. You have to keep reversing the driver to unscrew your glove!
Now we just wait for the temperature to rise so we can get the sprayfoaming down. Could be a long, cold wait...